Our work takes us to leaders and leadership teams in a wide variety of situations. Time and again we see phenomenal leaders taking these eight steps (and it’s not rocket science!).
1. Do one thing and do it to the best.
Phenomenal leaders focus. It’s as simple as that. They know a single most important thing and they do it, only that until it cannot be done any better. They know that multi-tasking is a lie; it’s impossible to text and drive at the same time so why take this approach with work? Distractions are discarded or delegated. Distilling your mission into one tangible, clear goal at a time sets you up to give it your utmost attention – a crucial element for exceptional results. What is the one thing that you need to focus on and what proportion of your day is this receiving?
2. Do the research.
It’s remarkable how often decisions are made without proper research. Successful leaders know more about the situation than the information provided in a board pack or briefing. They make the phone calls. They visit the factory. They walk the office floor and pick up the signals. They do some of their own research, assuming that they don’t know rather than that they do. Are you getting enough facts to put you ahead of the crowd?
3. Be Present.
Highly effective leaders are literally present – visible and accessible – as well as ‘present’ in the moment – attentive, engaged and engaging. They do not hide behind busyness and they can articulate their unique contribution clearly and in less than 60 seconds. They make a high-impact first impression that lasts. What can you do to be more present; visible, attentive, interesting and interested?
4. Know your resources (and use them well).
We all have a huge amount of resource available to us; time, experience, contacts, training, finance, health. Successful leaders know what their resources are – and how to use them. They utilize tools for planning time, engaging networks and keeping healthy. They communicate their needs in a way that engages their people resources into their mission. Nine times out of ten, this is all about being clear about what’s in it for those people and how the mission connects with their unique skills and passion. What resources do you have and are you engaging them effectively?
5. Make people feel great!
Maya Angelou, the American poet and civil rights activist, nailed it when she said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Feel-goods come in all shapes and sizes; thoughtful gifts, a well-placed ‘thank you’, public praise, promotion, quality time and more. Stand-out leaders have a knack for making people around them feel great. When was the last time someone made you feel good? What can you do to make others feel the same?
6. Be brave (but not reckless).
The difference between good leaders and great leaders often comes down to boldness – the courage to press on with “that” big idea and not settle for merely ‘pretty good results’. Successful leaders assimilate useful information and disregard ill-informed, limiting voices. Are your goals too small? Are you waiting for permission when, in fact, you can press forward regardless? Be brave!
7. Re-connect with prior sources of success.
It’s common to chase new success, new clients, new opportunities. The best leaders draw on past sources of success to propel them forward. Existing and previous clients, ex-employees, contacts from prior roles can all be enlisted for the next project. This saves time and energy, often with even better results than the first successful experience. Who can you re-connect with today that can help propel you forwards?
8. Take time out.
There is nothing new in advocating time out for reflection, recharging and rest for leadership success. Practically everyone we speak with would agree. Yet proper time out still seems to elude many of us. Scheduling short time-out (daily / weekly reflection) and long time-out (vacation) is essential for a proper perspective, clarity of thinking and good health. What do you need to put in your diary, today?
These 8 steps will put you on the path to success.